With the paintwork completed, I moved on to decal prep and immediately hit a snag. My Alclad Klear Kote Gloss, which has been a strong performer in the past, laid down a finish that, while glossy, was actually not quite as smooth as the Gunze paint. As an aside, my frustrations with finding a good and consistent gloss coat have inspired me to pit pretty much all the ones I can find against each other, head to head. Stay tuned.
Back to the D.520…after being burned way too many times, I refused to trust the Tamiya decals, so I picked up a sheet from Berna Decals. I’d never used them before and was somewhat nervous putting the first few down, but they proved to be rather solid, although the whites were somewhat too transparent for my tastes. Still, no biggie – they settled in well with absolutely no silvering, and that’s success in my book.
After my experience, I’d recommend Berna, and would purchase additional sheets in a heartbeat.
Once the decals were set and sealed with an additional coat of gloss, I decided it was time to beat the Dewoitine up a bit. This machine represents a Free French aircraft flying out of North Africa, where the environment doled out severe punishment to aircraft finishes.
To represent this splotched and battered paint, I turned to the salt fading technique I’ve experimented with on my past couple of builds.
- Step 1: Soak the aircraft thoroughly with warm water and a drop of dish soap to break up the surface tension and prevent beading.
- Step 2: Apply salt. Use a grinder so you can get coarse, irregular grains.
- Step 3: Bake it dry with a hairdryer set to low speed and either warm or hot temperature settings.
Once the salt dries, airbrush a very thin coat of light gray. This should be mostly thinner. Since you’ll be washing the salt off under a sink, it’s probably best to stay away from water-soluble stuff, and, word of warning, the salt stains Tamiya paints. I used Gunze, got a tiny bit of staining, and it vanished after spraying the kit lightly with lacquer thinner.
After the light gray is on, rinse the salt off and reapply more salt. This time, go with a grimy black/dark gray/brown color. Rinse and repeat.
Coming out the other side, the D.520 looks a lot more world-weary.
With the salt fading out of the way, I pulled out my trusty Flory Dark Dirt wash. Flory is excellent stuff – a clay-based sludge wash that you slop on, then wipe off with a damp paper towel. On a glossy finish, it’ll remain trapped in the panel lines – but if you use it over a semi-gloss or matte finish, it’ll leave some interesting staining and streaking as well. And, being clay based, you can wet and wipe long after it’s dried without fear of harming anything.
When it comes to the D.520, weathering is all over the map. The D.520’s that participated in the Battle of France were pretty clean, as they literally didn’t have time to get filthy. But those that managed to escape to North Africa had to endure long service in a rather harsh environment, and it showed. Since this one is representing one of those African escapees, some banging up was in order.
First, I busted out the Prismacolor silver pencil and chipped the leading edges of the wings, various access panels and panel intersections, the prop blades and the wingroots.
Next, I turned to my trusty MIG pigments. Black for the gun and ejection port stains, and a combination of black, burnt steel blue, ashes white, concrete and Russian Earth for the exhaust. The tires and undersides were treated to some Brick, as the African Earth was far too red (seems like it depicts sub-Saharan stuff) and Gulf War Sand just made the tires look like they’d been rolling around in mustard dust.
Lastly, the wingtip lights were painted Model Master Chrome Silver, overcoated with Tamiya Clear Red and Clear Blue…and that put a wrap on the D.520.
For more finished pics, thoughts on the kit, and more, head over to Completed Builds.